With proposals to introduce on-street car parking charges in dozens of town centres and high streets in Northern Ireland being discussed with the head of the Civil Service and the political parties, Retail NI has asked the political parties to reject them.
Retail NI chief executive Glyn Roberts, said: “Removing the first hour free on-street car parking and introducing charges in dozens of local town centres and high streets is the very last thing local small businesses need at this time.
“If this is enacted, then the major out of town supermarkets will be the only winner, with their free car parking and no traffic enforcement. It will be a hammer blow to our struggling retail sector, town centres and local economy. It will be a Town Centre Tax in all but name.
“Let’s not also forget that independent retailers in Northern Ireland have been denied the 75% business rates discount that their English counterparts have received and pay the highest rates in the UK.
“We would urge all party leaders to reject such an ill thought out proposal.”